Fundamental Interpersonal Relationships Orientation

Fundamental Interpersonal Relationships Orientation (FIRO®)

“80% of work issues stem from the quality of working relationships”

Will Schutz: Author of FIRO?

Why is FIRO® important?

The most important factor affecting motivation, morale, performance and output is the compatibility between its people – especially the leader and the team members.  Most companies recognise this but few know how to create and maintain this compatibility.  Dr. Will Schutz, through his pioneering work aimed at reducing the fragmentation of teams in the US Navy, developed the FIRO® Theory and managed to reduce fragmentation by 25%. It is now 50 years on and FIRO® Theory has become one of the best, most comprehensive and powerful approaches for increasing team compatibility.  His original FIRO-b® questionnaire has now been superseded.  The improved questionnaire called FIRO Element B was published in 1989 together with FIRO Element F and FIRO Element S which take the nature of relationships beyond the original B (for Behaviour) into both F (Feelings) and S (Self).  These very practical tools add enormous power to those implementing FIRO® theory in organisations.  FIRO® theory is probably the most complete and effective approach to building relationships available anywhere in the world today – and it is what puts the depth into the whole area of Emotional Intelligence.

What does using FIRO® achieve?

FIRO® focusses on the inevitable link between personal needs, values, emotions and defences and how these impact on all our relationships – both personal and at work.  FIRO® theory helps people to understand how they interpret the world through the lens of their own needs and experience.  By increasing self-awareness, the lens clears, our emotions become less disruptive and our relationships become more understandable and productive.  The effect is that we:

  • become more emotionally intelligent– by learning how the same fundamental needs drive both others and ourselves.  This increased interpersonal literacy helps us in many ways including communicating, influencing and gaining commitment from others more effectively;
  • generate greater energy and commitment – by implementing FIRO® theory the clutter of past experience has a less distorting effect on how we approach situations today.  We approach people and issues in the light of today’s needs and resources and allow the experience of the past to become valuable rather than disruptive –releasing new levels of energy and creativity;
  • become a high performing team – by developing greater understanding of others and ourselves we lay the foundation for reducing defensiveness and facilitating productive and satisfying relationships.  This helps us get more out of our work and career and, at work, leads to the greatest prize of all – a trust-based high performing team.

You can download examples from our Sample Reports page.

More on FIRO-B?

FIRO-B (Fundamental Interpersonal Relationships Orientations – Behaviour) dates back from the early 1950’s and examines ways in which you typically act with others people.

The originator of the FIRO theory was Will Schutz who became interested in the way people interacted when he was involved with the US Navy in trying to understand and improve the performance of command and control teams on board ships and created the FIRO-B questionnaire. As time progressed, Will Schutz continued his work in the Social Relations Department in Harvard.

By recognising that people needed people to receive from and give to in varying degrees, three specific areas were identified as key.

Inclusion – How much you want to include and involve other people in your activities and how much attention and recognition you want from others, not in your close one-to-one relationships but with people in general.

Control – this being the way in which you usually react to taking charge of situations or being directed by others. It includes issues such as authority, responsibility, decision-making and influence on others.

Affection– how your interpersonal relationships with people you might be close to i.e. good friends or someone whom you work with.

These behaviours fall into ‘Expressed’ – those we initiate and push out in to the direction of others and ‘Wanted’ – where we would like others to initiate and push in our direction.

At Inspirational You we can work alongside teams and individuals to run questionnaires (on line) around FIRO-B.

It is here we begin to see results in the following:

  • Leadership and management development
  • Senior level assessment and “fit” for future positions
  • Stakeholder relationships
  • Conflict management
  • Team development

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